CERN openlab is educating the next generation of computer professionals

For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, CERN’s Openlab summer students returned to CERN to work hands-on with cutting-edge computing technologies

In July and August, 32 students came to CERN for hands-on work with cutting-edge computing technologies as part of CERN’s Openlab Summer Student program. Over the past week, the students presented their projects in a series of five-minute “Lightning Talks”.

CERN openlab is a unique public-private partnership through which CERN works with leading technology companies – including Intel, Oracle, Siemens, Micron, Google and IBM – to accelerate innovation in the computing technologies needed by its research community. Today, over 30 joint R&D projects are carried out at CERN via CERN openlab.

Education and training are important parts of the mission of CERN openlab. Therefore, the companies participating in the CERN openlab sponsor a nine-week summer program for students every year. The selected students will attend a series of lectures (available here for free and online), visit different parts of the lab and work on projects led by IT experts at CERN. This year, projects looked at technologies such as quantum computing, supercomputing, machine learning and open data.

“During their stay at CERN, students are immersed in an environment of cutting-edge technology and innovative thinking,” says Enrica Porcari, Head of IT at CERN. “They also bring fresh ideas and approaches to the teams they work with at CERN.”

32 students from 19 countries were selected from 1770 applications for CERN’s Openlab Summer Student Program 2022. Her five-minute “Lightning Talks” summarizing her projects are available here: http://cern.ch/go/n9Mr and http://cern.ch/go/t6fX. A jury evaluated the presentations, with the three best students receiving awards from CERN. The top 3 were as follows:

1st place: Kane Bruce (USA), ‘EOS Continuous Integration Improvements (ARM64, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE)’.

2nd place: Jay Patel (India), “Generative Models with Continuous Variable Quantum Computing”.

3rd place: Leyla Naz Candogan (Turkey), “Boosting online recalibration of physical objects for the 40 MHz scouting demonstrator system at CMS”.

This year’s summer students were also joined by the winners of two recent competitions. Jay Patel, a computer science student from India, received a spot in the program as a prize for winning the QHACK quantum machine learning hackathon in February. Three other QHACK awardees also came to CERN in July for a special week-long visit. “I loved the working environment at CERN,” says Patel. “I felt really welcome and would love to go back and work at CERN after my Masters in Quantum Computing.”

Eugenio Marinelli joined CERN after winning the oneAPI Great Cross-Architecture Challenge organized by Intel with support from CERN and Argonne National Laboratory in the US. He used the set of cross-architecture libraries from the oneAPI toolkit to develop a new application for decoding digital data stored in synthetic DNA quickly and accurately. “My experience at CERN was very good,” says Marinelli, who is now doing her PhD at EURECOM in France. “I particularly enjoyed being exposed to the international environment in the laboratory.”

Applications for CERN’s 2023 Openlab Summer Student Program will open in November.

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